Oscar History

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Months of Meryl: Adaptation 

"This film is in my all time great top 10. I love everything about it. The acting, the plot, the crazyness of life itself." - Sonja

"I'm not wild about the film - but Cooper is super and I'd be inclined to put this in Streep's top 5, maybe top 3, performances. It's so unexpected, and works perfectly. For a few years this was often the performance I first thought of when I thought of her." - Scott C

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The Films of 2012. The 13th annual FiLM BiTCH Awards




Best Picture

Michael Haneke
Benh Zeitlin
(Fox Searchlight)
Steven Soderbergh
(Warner Bros)
Tom Hooper
Wes Anderson
(Focus Features)
 An old couple's last days in a Parisan flat -- devastatingly clear-eyed and honest A fantastical drama about an orphaned girl living in "The Bathtub" - wholly original, remarkable  A male stripper reaches life crossroads -unexpectedly rich, funny, and compelling.  The stage phenomenon of doomed Parisians reaches the screen with giant sized emotions intact. First love juxtaposed with adult discontent - charming, idiosyncratic storytime with Wes

Finalists: Farewell My Queen and Lincoln
Rest of the Top Ten: Middle of Nowhere, Holy Motors, and Zero Dark Thirty
Honorable Mentions: Looper, The Loneliest Planet, Skyfall and More...



Best Director (discuss on the blog)

Wes Anderson
Leos Carax
Michael Haneke
Steven Soderbergh
Benh Zeitlin
He always stays true to himself: dioramic gorgeousity, endearing quirks, attention to detail that rewards with repeat views. It's his best film since The Royal Tenenbaums Is there a film this year that's more of an auteurist feat than Holy Motors? That's a rhetorical question. Let Carax chauffer you around the dying cinema.
 The Austrian master does his greatest work since Caché resulting in his warmest and most accessible picture that magically loses not one bit of his cool artistry or thematic chill.
 Soderbergh's restless artistry, smarts, and indisputable gift at making movie stars ever starrier elevate this drama of a stripper at crossroads. Imagine it in someone else's hands!
 For shepherding one of the great child performances to the screen. For breadth and originality of vision and visual and aural skill. An altogether startling debut. How on earth will he follow it up?
Finalists: Steven Spielberg for stepping back -- much like he did with Schindler's List -- to let the themes, words, and brilliant ensemble carry the heady ideas and the bloody conflicts within Lincoln | Kathryn Bigelow's gifts for tension, mood and cool and cynical character work are undimmed in Zero Dark Thirty

Semi-Finalists: Rian Johnson for flexible visual strength and the genre-mashup indulgences of Looper, Julia Loktev for her patience and sensory brilliance within The Loneliest Planet and Benoît Jacquot for the speed of the storytelling and the thrilling brief peeks into actressy soul that Farewell My Queen offers.



Best Original Screenplay

Michael Haneke
Aya DuVernay
Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola
Sean Baker & Chris Bergoch
Mark Boal
 This hauntingly framed film contains plentiful silent terror but speaks just as eloquently when its telling random (?) anecdotes or slurring universal truths... "Hurrrrts" Though Nowhere comes off (at first) like a simple one woman-at-crossroads drama, DuVernay's nuanced humanism pulls other characters into that orbit, each with their own gravitational pull.

 Anderson's voice - impossible to separate from his visuals (or fossilized adolescence if we're being honest) sings near perfect notes here. The result is his most endearing substantive work since Tenenbaums.


One of the most wholly original slice of life character studies in years as a young "actress" befriends an old woman for dubious reasons to incongruously sweet results
 What this Hurt Locker follow up loses in thematic reach and superlative structure it seems to gain in quotability, tautological verve, and uncomfortable snaps into feeling for these CIA drones.
Finalists: Rian Johnson's LOOPER sometimes feels like too many movies mashed into one, but maybe it's so alive and surprising because of its internal wars as to what it will become? | Filmmaking as catharsis --the once-coupled actors Jérémie Elkaïm and Valérie Donzelli refashion their actual family nightmare of a years-long struggle with their infant's health into the bracing DECLARATION OF WAR | Paul Thomas Anderson's gift for idiosyncratic peering into the human abyss remains intact. But what to make of this film's mastery of THE MASTER him or herself? Too opaque? Too sketchy? Too many masters to define? | Semi-Finalists: DJANGO UNCHAINED, MAGIC MIKE, END OF WATCH and TAKE THIS WALTZ


Best Adapted Screenplay

Chris Terrio
Joss Whedon & Zak Penn
Benh Zeitlin & Lucy Alibar
Tony Kushner
Stephen Chobsky
 A sharp example of mainstream accessible film-writing, inspired by Joshuah Bearman's Wired article. Argo never gets bogged down in its tangled procedure or too fancy about its (very) by-the- book character arcs. Smart and boy does it 'play'.
Sure the evil scheme is lame but this blockbuster based on the Marvel comic series aces the one liners and restores the joy of an increasingly mopey genre. Wisely, they push the prickly team dynamics to center stage. Bonus Points for redeeming both the Hulk and Black Widow  While much of this film's acclaim clings to its lyrical visuals and sound, at its core its also a deeply moving and flexible piece of allegory. They changed Hushpuppy's gender and made other smart cinematic choices in this transfer from Alibar's original play.
 Spielberg wisely lets Kushner lead in this enthralling work inspired by chapters of "A Team of Rivals". Kushner's gift for revealing the messy prismatic humanity of political struggles is still unparalleled. The A list cast clearly relish his superb poetic dialogue.
 This book-to-movie benefits greatly from the intimacy of someone adapting their own work. Chobsky maybe should have chucked the epistolary V.O. format but the half-formed hearts and teen angst make this play like a genuine and endearing found diary.
Finalists: How do you distill the complicated plot and huge cast of classic novel ANNA KARENINA into a two hour movie? If you're Tom Stoppard you get creative and zero in on the mad rush of foolish passion leaving all else a blur | Special Mention: It would have been odd to give a friend a prize here but Leslye Headland is a true original and I'm glad her biting wit and unique voice comes through so strong in BACHELORETTE's transfer from stage to screen. | Semi-Finalists: SKYFALL, FAREWELL MY QUEEN, THE DEEP BLUE SEA, THE SESSIONS and LES MISERABLES